Electric.ie March/April 2023

44 ELECTRIC.IE • The Magazine & Website for the Irish Electrical Industry • Rittal It’s the age-old adage of doing what you’ve always done! When it comes to enclosures its no different, people stick with what they know and when it comes to putting enclosures outdoors stainless steel is usually what they select. However, there are other materials out there that may perform better in an outdoor setting or for the application you have and could be more cost effective. Let’s consider aluminium for instance. A general perception can be that this material is not as strong and durable as stainless steel, especially when used to manufacture enclosures, however, despite stainless steel being heaver and stronger, aluminium is approximately a third of the weight of stainless steel, therefore aluminium has a better strength to weight ratio. Another point to consider is the impact rating of both these ‒By: Emma Ryde, Product Manager at Rittal. Outdoor Enclosures – Aluminium Vs Stainless Steel materials when they are used outdoors in a public setting as they can be the target for vandalism. The impact rating (IK) of stainless steel used in enclosures typically tends to be IK8, whereas aluminum is IK9. The reason for this is that stainless steel will tend to crack but aluminum will deform and bend. Whilst any impact on the material isn’t good, in an enclosure application, material that has cracked will potentially allow water ingress. Probably one of the best features of aluminum is its good corrosive properties. There’s a misconception that stainless steel doesn’t rust. Unfortunately, in the wrong environment, it can and will rust. Once rust is apparent on the surface, unless treated it will spread and eventually part of the material, or all of it, can disintegrate. This doesn’t bode well for equipment that is tted inside an enclosure.